It would appear that Perth Glory’s finals win against Melbourne City at AAMI Park was not only a big win for the club, but it may prove to be a very important win for club coach Kenny Lowe.
Kenny Lowe thought in 2014/15 that he had steered the club to another finals appearance in the Hyundai A-League, only to see that opportunity taken away when it was revealed that the club had broached the salary cap. Strangely the club was deducted points that saw them finish seventh rather than bottom, when with the points earned they would have finished third.
Sadly as many are aware, all clubs try to find ways around the salary cap, and many succeed. Unfortunately for Perth Glory they were caught.
Kenny Lowe has also been the head coach for Perth Glory in two losing FFA Cup finals, first against Adelaide United in 2014 and then to Melbourne Victory in 2015. In 2014 he stepped into the breach while the club investigated issues with the official head coach Alistair Edwards, and it was the day after the final on the 17th of December that the club announced that Edwards was no longer head coach.
So last Sunday’s game against Melbourne City in Melbourne was Lowe’s first experience of coaching in the A-League finals. His team did not let him down, outplaying the Victorians in every area of the park. They deservedly won the game 2-0 and now face Premiers Sydney FC, a team who has only lost one game all season.
It would be a brave man to bet against Perth Glory defeating the Premiers and booking a place in the Grand Final. Graham Arnold’s team have had an outstanding season, of that there can be no doubt. Some sections of the East coast media appear from afar to have gone into almost cheerleader mode in relation to Arnold and the team’s success. One almost feels that they are tempting fate. If Lowe can steer his troops to another victory he and his team will deserve all the plaudits that come their way.
Yet it would appear that the nature of the win in Melbourne at the weekend has done much to boost Lowe’s stock as a coach. Former England Manager Roy Hodgson was at the game as a guest of the City Group, owners of Manchester City and Melbourne City. Hodgson has been given work as a consultant by the City Group and rumour has it has been tasked with finding a coach that will be the right fit for the club; Michael Valkanis was only interim coach following the departure of John Van’t Schip, who returned to the Netherlands to be with his sick father earlier in the season.
Kenny Lowe apparently impressed Hodgson when they met in Melbourne, so much so that the Perth Glory coach has we believe been invited to attend Manchester City’s penultimate Premier League game, away at West Bromwich Albion, as a guest of the City Group. It has been suggested that this will be the ideal opportunity for Lowe to catch up with former Perth Glory Goalkeeping coach, and now West Brom Goalkeeping coach, Jonathan Gould.
Why did the City Group invest in Melbourne City? The real reasons have never been made clear, but many believe it was so that the club could have a club at which it could develop its promising young talent. Having these young players compete in a league competition alongside experienced professionals. John Van’t Schip was the coach they appointed when they took over Melbourne Heart and rebranded the club. He knew Australia having coached the club previously. He also had a strong background in youth development having been a youth coach for Ajax and manager for FC Twente. He had also proved that he could coach senior teams having worked with Marco Van Basten and the national Dutch side.
Kenny Lowe has already proven himself to be one of the best youth development coaches in the country. He also knows the Australian game having served as an assistant coach at Glory before taking on the head coach’s role. Now by taking Perth Glory into the A-League semi finals with that impressive win over Melbourne City it appears he has put himself in the running for the head coach position at the club he managed to knock out of the finals, and proven he can coach junior as well as senior players. A win over Sydney this weekend will enhance his chances even more.
If the City Group were not seriously considering Lowe to be their man in Australia, why would they offer him a seat in their box at the Hawthorns on the 17th of May? One is presuming that they too will be paying his air fare to the Uk, as surely the Perth Glory would not be paying for a ticket to have him scout for players knowing that a rival franchise is planing to host him at a Premier League game?
It is believed that Lowe won over Hodgson with his team on the pitch, and face to face off the pitch. Does this mean it will in fact be Perth Glory looking for a new coach next year and that City already have their man?